Well Ladies – I am officially on a roll. I have three littles in school and have a total of four hours to myself, five days a week. Last week was the first week of this new schedule and I have to laugh – the day before my youngest started preschool – I was worried I would have too much free time. I was slightly concerned that I might just roll around in bed all morning long and eat potato chips and watch “As the World Turns” or something similar. Jason just laughed and shook his head when I told him my deepest worry for the Fall season. How could he?!
Then – last week happened and it was a mixture of frenzy, glory and tears. The words out of my mouth by the end of the week – “Four hours isn’t NEAR enough time! No!!!”
I’d like to say that this is more of the perseverance that I spoke of in the last blog post – but I’d be kidding. I am thankful for my small allotment of time. It flies – but it’s filling my soul.
I’m listening to some different podcasts while I tidy the house (which how in the world could the 5 of us make such a mess in the morning that it takes me 90 minutes to pick up once everyone is up and running?! – does anyone else experience this?). I’m starting to work on some projects that have been sitting on the shelf for far too long. And I’m working hard to wake up before the boys for those 20 magical moments so I can read, journal, reflect, and pray. Ladies – for real – this last part is so hard for me – but it is filling my soul.
Recently, I came across this devo that I had tucked into a rickety chest of drawers next to my desk until I finished this study which took me forev to do! The devotional was given to me by a precious woman in one of my groups and in the introduction – the author, Nancy Guthrie talks about a horrific time in her life and her search for what could possibly get her through the next day, what could possibly fill her soul. It was the author’s sister-in-law that answered – “manna”.
Just as the Israelites depended on God for food to get them through the day for 40 years – we as well depend on God to nourish our souls so that we as well can get through our days. Especially when we think we might not make it.
And just as the Israelites couldn’t store up the food (except for the Sabbath) – nor can we. As Nancy says – “every day, we need a fresh touch, a fresh word to nourish us and sustain us. Yesterday’s manna, yesterday’s insights may inform us, but every day we need something new to keep us moving forward toward healing” (p.xvi, Nancy Guthrie, The One Year Book of Hope). LURVE that!
These fresh touches, fresh words – oftentimes they do come in the still and quiet of the morning while my feet hit the pavement or while I am sitting in my cramped office, that also serves as a catch-all, reading a study or journaling to God. But other times these touches and words come from my community – family and friends that know me. And then there are those sweet times when it’s God disguised as a stranger.
Yesterday – the manna for my day – the thing that kept me moving forward toward healing was in the midst of a conversation I had with a fellow group facilitator. We were processing something that came up in her group and she asked – when we choose not to show up – is it because we can’t accept ourselves right where we are at?
Her question gave me pause. I’ve thought of all the times when I choose hiding over showing up. When I lurk into the shadows instead of bravely walking into the light and saying – here I am – pain, hurt, ugliness and all.
It also had me wondering – what comes first – accepting ourselves (in isolation) before sharing the ugly with others? Or sharing the ugly with others (in community) and then learning to accept ourselves as we see those around us accept us first?
I believe it’s the latter that is the more likely way we experience healing. And that is a hard pill to swallow. I’m reminded of something I re-read recently – We get hurt in relationships. And – we heal in relationships.
As you continue on your journey toward hope, healing and wholeness – what is the manna that is getting you through today? It could be words of truth in a conversation (like my example above) or it could be encouragement or grace or love. I’d love to hear your thoughts below.
xo – Shelley